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How Payless Got People to Pay Hundreds for Its Shoes

Bargain shoe store opened a fake luxury boutique
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2018 12:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Would you pay $640 for a pair of Payless shoes? You might think the answer is "absolutely not," but you haven't been to Palessi. In a recent ad campaign/social experiment, Payless took over a former Armani storefront in Santa Monica, Calif., and set up a fake luxury shoe boutique, Palessi. Attendees of the grand opening party ("fashion influencers" invited by Palessi, er, Payless) had no idea things were not as they seemed, and yes, $640 was the top price paid for the $19.99 and $39.99 shoes on display, Adweek reports.

A whopping $3,000 was spent in just a few hours on the actually cheap shoes, but Payless returned the money after the truth was revealed—and let the attendees keep the shoes they picked out. The shocked reactions of people who just found out the shoes they were calling "elegant" and "sophisticated" were actually from Payless are included in the resulting ads. The stunt "helped the brand prove that a price point doesn't dictate style," Bustle declares. But one marketing expert notes the whole thing is also "a commentary ... on the discernment—or lack thereof—among fashion influencers." (These Payless shoes reportedly burst into flames.)

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